Project 2996: CAPT Gerald DeConto, USN

September 9th, 2011 by xformed

I didn’t know him, yet our service times crossed, and career paths were the same: Surface Warfare Officers.

He died on 9/11/2001 in the Pentagon. He had made his way up the ranks from his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1979, to having had command of the USS SIMPSON (FFG-56).

When he died that day, ten years ago, he already was taking action as a result of the attack on the US. As reported in the Washington Post:

As director of the current operations and plans branch of the Navy Command Center, Capt. Gerald F. DeConto, 44, was organizing the Navy’s response to the World Trade Center attack when he died in the crash at the Pentagon.

In the aggregate of the comments in an online guest book for the victims of 9/11, I’d say this: He respected and was respected by those who served with him and he would go out of his way to help a shipmate move ahead in life.

I see he was the Executive Officer of the USS LAKE EIRE (CG-70), not just any old Executive Officer’s job. I was in a pre-commissioning crew as a division officer, and I had had my fill of the non-naval duties required in such an assignment. CAPT DeConto obviously was up to that challenge, and a commenter in the guest book indicated he did well.

That had to be a quite an assignment, but he had several challenging ones, beginning with his assignment to the mine sweeper USS EXCEL (MSO-439) right out of the Academy. Those are small ships, and the crew is as well, but all the duties of a large ship happen on a small shop, too. The junior officers on small ships learn a lot fast.

A native of Sandwich, MA, he had been blessed to have spent the weekend prior to 9/11/2001 with his mother. That, given the naval life, was quite a blessing from my view.

CAPT DeConto, thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Category: 2996 Tribute, History, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | 3 Comments »

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